Classic cottage pie

This is our take on a classic cottage pie. With rich beef and creamy mash, it's a long-standing family favourite and a good one to have in the freezer for emergencies!


  • 750g beef mince
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 750ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 1.75 kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 75g butter
  • milk, for the mash
  • 2 egg yolks


    1. Heat a large non-stick pan then add the mince and fry it until it’s brown all over. There will probably be enough fat in the mince without adding oil, but if you need to, add a tiny splash.
    2. Add the garlic, leek, onion, carrot and celery, then fry for another 10 minutes until everything is soft. Sprinkle over the flour and stir in well.
    3. Add the wine and simmer for a minute, then add the Worcestershire sauce, stock, tomato purée and thyme. Cook until the sauce is reduced and thick. Season and cool.
    4. To make the mash, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender then drain really well and mash with the butter, a splash of milk and lots of seasoning. Beat in the egg yolks.
    5. Tip the beef mix into a large ovenproof dish and top with the mash. Cool, cover with clingfilm and and freeze until needed.
    6. To cook, defrost completely overnight in the fridge. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the mash is golden and the filling is piping hot.